Jewish Temple Marries Lesbian Couple

Temple Hesed in Scranton welcomes its first same-sex marriage

Jen and Naomi Simmons got married recently. In Pennsylvania. In a Jewish temple.

The Scranton Times-Tribune reports that Temple Hesed in Scranton, Pa., performed its first same-sex ceremony for the lesbian couple who came from South Carolina by way of Connecticut to be married in the reformed Jewish faith among friends, family and their baby daughter. They’ve become the first same-sex couple to receive a blessing from the temple, even if the commonwealth does not presently recognize the marriage.

Rabbi Daniel Swartz (courtesy of Temple Hesed)

“We just want to be normal, everyday people,” Naomi Simmons tells the paper. “We work, we have a dog, two cats and a child. It just so happens we are a same-sex couple.”

Rabbi Daniel Swartz has been with the temple for six years after moving from Maryland where he regularly performed same-sex marriages. He tells the news that he encourages religious sects to be inclusive of all people.

“You might think from what you read in the media that all religions are against same-sex couples,” the rabbi tells the paper. “Love is hard; harder than it has ever been. Anyone who has managed to do that should be celebrated.”

And aside from a few pronoun changes, the wedding for the couple was the same as it would be for anyone else. The women also celebrated their nuptials with a baby-naming ceremony at the temple.

“It was perfect,” Jen Simmons tells the paper, saying that even her grandmother was happy about the marriage. “She’s 91, a very Catholic woman, but she loves us.”